May 7th 2014 at 10:05 PM

Simple & Usable

Simple and Usable by Giles Colborne

This book shows Giles Colborne’s design simplification process.

He gives 4 strategies on how to simplify your designs.

Remove - Prioritising content and removing all the unnecessary information that distracts the user from accomplishing their goals

Organize - Grouping related objects makes it easier to digest information

Hide - Hide secondary information inside the application, everything but the primary buttons must be shown

Displace - Move the complexity to better place

I try to follow this mindset everyday, from designing interfaces to the kitchen groceries. It’s fun boiling things down to the essential.

You should go and buy it, the book discusses more on how it applies those strategies mentioned above to actual projects.

February 5th 2014 at 11:01 PM

Be Polite, have loading states…

Why Are Loading States Important?

Like people talking in a conversation loaders are a way to nod and acknowledge that it has received your message.

Loaders are also important when content is taking too long to query. These states assures users that your application has acknowledged a command and is still processing it.

Magic Numbers

A research paper done by the NNgroup have uncovered important checkpoints to consider when and what feedback is needed during the loading phase.

0 - 0.1 seconds

The limit for having the user feel that the system is reacting instantaneously and that no special feedback is necessary except to display the result.

0.1 - 1.0 seconds

The limit for the user’s flow of thought to stay uninterrupted, even though the user will notice the delay.

1.0 - 10 seconds

The limit for keeping the user’s attention focused on the dialogue.

You can read the rest of the research paper here.

Psychological Solution

When all effort to make your program run efficiently have been exhausted distracting the user is always a good technique to keep them engaged.

Games frequently have huge loading times and they may be a good reference.

Skyrim distracts it’s users by showing random objects during it’s long load times and allowing players to rotate and zoom in objects

People count in cycles and not minutes. Giving your animation faster cycles will make the content load content faster.

Which of these circles look like they might load content faster?

See the Pen Load example by Jeremie Michaels Lim (@jeremiespoken) on CodePen.


It is also possible for content to react too fast so much so that the user cannot keep up with the event.

Giving your application appropriate transitions gives it a more cohesive experience as users navigate through it. have some great examples of awesome transitions.

Loading the future

The future of software is moving toward interactions that mimic human behavior and as designers it’s important for us to observe these tiny gestures and bake them into our products.

It’s about time we teach our software manners.

January 5th 2014 at 06:34 PM

The Paella Constant

One glaring fact about my dad, he loves his routines. Every new years eve he orders the same thing for the whole family. The familiar aroma of spanish food fills the house at around 11pm, a concoction of rice, vegetables, meat, chicken, and seafood all mushed together to form a mountain of red, brown and yellow. This mess is called the Paella.

This mush wasn’t really on my top 50 things to nosh on but for the sake of family tradition I scoop it up, shove it in my mouth and take big gulps of water to get it over with.

2013 marks the first time I moved far away from my family. While being abroad, everything is exhaustively new to me. I’m still navigating my way around this unfamiliar culture while trying to find ways to call this place home.

Flying back for the holidays was surely a good break from the constant change and as New year’s eve came my dad ordered Paella for the whole family, again.

This time though it felt different, I have gained a new appreciation for this tiny family ceremony. I felt like these reliable routines will keep me safe whenever I get defeated on this new adventure I’ve started.

Now voyaging back overseas I can say that I am looking forward to 2014’s new year’s eve paella.

Happy new year everyone.

October 22nd 2013 at 10:44 PM

Reminders to Self

  • Take responsibility for your actions, face consequences caused by the choices you make
  • Always communicate, never assume
  • You are very bad at estimating, don’t make commitments you can’t keep
  • Don’t cut people off when they are talking, it’s rude
October 21st 2012 at 07:46 PM

Commitment & Consistency

If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self image.

- Robert Cialdini

I’m doing a little experiment to test this weapon of influence I learned. I will update this list when I think of more things to add.

  1. I will create successful products through collaboration and user centric kung fu!
  2. I will always strive for innovation to place a dent in the universe
  3. I will seriously start saving money

Hey try this out for yourself! Write down the things that you want to be committed to then share it to everyone on your social network or to a few people you trust.


I promise you I will never smoke another cigarette.

Send it to parents, partners or friends and see if it helps you be consistent with the commitment you announced.

You could also read Cialdini’s book for more stories on how people’s brains are easily hacked to influence behaviour.

September 12th 2012 at 02:35 AM

Lean Mean Machine Singapore!

After reading so much about the Lean Startup Machine (world’s leading workshop on Lean Startup methodologies) I finally had a chance to experience it for myself! (geekgasms) I couldn’t resist the chance to talk to lean mentors and dig into their thought processes!

Singapore la!

So I went with a bunch of guys from Cebu!

So what’s wrong with the previous statement? You know when a bunch of guys leave for a trip no one really checks the itinerary while everyone just goes into autopilot mode?Well that’s what exactly happened.


We got lost on our way to the event.

We decided to go straight to the event,we reached Singapore around 4:30 pm and LSM will start at 6:30 pm.

We had printed directions only there was a slight problem. Our map only contained information about how to commute from the airport to the hotel then hotel to the event and back, nothing about going directly to the event from the airport.

We had to asked around the information booths on how to commute to LSM. Being confident that we knew where to go, we took two taxis to fit all 8 of us.

Arriving at the directions on the map I had the feeling that this was the wrong place. It looked like a residential building with clothes hanging from window sills.I told myself this might just be some super indie venue, the organisers might just be hipsters?

Reaching the exact door number there was a sign hanging above it that read children’s music school.Obviously the wrong place, double checking the address on the email we found out that it was really the wrong address.

We had to go around and ask locals where the LSM venue was! It was already 6:00 pm. We were already late. It felt like we were in the amazing race scrambling towards the street to find taxi’s during rush hour.

The Hub

We finally found the building! It was on a very hip neighbourhood, I could tell by the skatepark outside it had an awesome name too, The Hub.

We arrived just after all the pitches, imagine our confusion when it was time to vote on who’s ideas would make it for the weekend.

Before LSM the we had an agreed that we need to team up with different people to absorb as much information from different teams as we can.

I love how these conferences force me to walk around and talk to complete strangers, the motivation of learning will overwhelm my fear of being socially awkward.

Trolling for a Team

A few minutes of walking around had involved me nervously asking people to do their pitches again. A couple of made up reasons why I couldn’t join different teams later I finally settled on the team that had a very interesting problem space, well for me anyway. It was about matching kids with the right “learning style”.

Short introductions later I found out I was the youngest in the group.Two of my teammates had MBA’s and our leader was the owner of a huge publishing firm in Thailand. I could tell how experienced they were just the way the talked and discussed ideas. I was glad that I had picked this team, I figured they could teach me a whole lot about approaching problem solving.


As soon as we started we hit our first road block. We were dealing with a two sided market.

While trying to fill out our canvas it was hard to choose who we need to write on our customer hypothesis. A long winded discussion about business models followed.

It was getting harder to decide what to write down on this small sticky note we were buried with all of the discussions, we didn’t even get to fill out one box on the validation board. Amazingly a mentor just popped up out of nowhere and was suddenly asking the right questions, we immediately go to focus on which direction we should take.

We started with a persona (phew familiar territory) and narrowed who exactly our hypothesised parents were.

With the help of mentors we finally ended the day with our riskiest assumptions identified.


Started the next morning discussing what the business and research questions were. Also tasted the supposedly best coffee in Singapore at the Hub, it surely didn’t disappoint!

We followed this structure for our questions.

  1. Approach (ask if they had the time to talk to us)
  2. Qualifiers (if the fit the customer hypothesis)
  3. Open-ended questions (Find out needs/goals)

The game plan was to divide the team, one group will interview the students who have tried having a tutor while the other group find parents who are having a hard time getting the right tutor for their children.

Approaching Strangers

Walking around the area we had to ask strangers on the streets if they were willing to give us a few minutes of their time to answer a couple of questions.

It felt like we were a couple of crooks trying to rip off people on the street. As expected we got a whole bunch of rejects. My partner had great observations that just might increase the chances of someone to actually talk to us.

  1. Look for people who aren’t busy, probably people who aren’t walking too fast
  2. Don’t block peoples path while approaching them
  3. If you approach people with a piece of paper in your hands they will think you are selling them something

A few hours later we met back at the Hub to share our research findings. We collected a whole bunch of stories, I was really impressed how on my teammates presented and took very detailed notes, they also emailed us a really great Insights/proof table.


After the synthesising the interviews we were still unsure if we validate/invalidated our riskiest assumption, we never heard the parent explicitly expressing problems with finding the right tutor but the student we interviewed told us they hated their tutoring experience.

We could immediately tell there was a gap between what the parent’s said and what the children actually felt.

Even more GOOBING!

We decided to investigate further by doing more GOOBING! We googled for tutor schools near our area, we found one just a few blocks away and decided to do more interviews.

One of us interviewed a tutor while I stalked more parents.

We found out that the professional tutor we talked to was living the good life! He was happy and content with his profession, clients were constantly rolling in. When we asked him how he decides what to teach his students his answer was simple, ask the student what he wants to learn then he teaches.

Pivot/Preserve meet

Our discussions were now focused around what children wanted in their tutors not what parent’s wanted their tutors to be. We had to pivot our problem hypothesis to parents are having a hard time looking for tutors that fit the personality of their children.

Final Day

It’s our last day, we had the whole morning to do more GOOBING. Our research goals was to find out if parents were concerned about the personality of the tutors for their children.

After meeting back with the team we were greeted with a talk fromPhil Morlie from Pollenizer, he gave great examples of how they prototyped different ideas to find product/market fit.

He had interesting points on the right mindset when building a start-up

#flearning - fail often, succeed faster

Learning standup

  1. What have I learned
  2. What am I planning to learn today
  3. What’s stopping me from learning

Presentation Day

It was presenting time, We presented our major findings! By the wayI was in charge of pressing the next arrow key to forward the slides (yay).

  1. Concerned parents talk to their children to see how they are doing with the tutor
  2. Concerned parents were looking to build a relationship with the tutor personalities rather than credentials in the tutors
  3. They are essentially looking for “Mrs Doubtfire”

We ended up winning the empathy award!

At the end of the it all i’m colossally glad to have had the chance to meet all of these new, interesting people. I believe that the talks we had with mentors and my teammates are worth the price of the plane and event tickets combined.

I will definitely apply what I learned in my personal practice and preach what I learned during the weekend!


Sometimes we are too focused on our solutions that we forget to question our fundamental assumptions that could be business breaking.

July 16th 2012 at 03:07 AM

The Patient Experience

A new weekend project! Blew my mind that i’ve been invited to be part of a new brand spanking startup, together with the co-founders of CareSharing (A young, unconventional and ambitious IT company providing online software for healthcare) Mark, Harm and I are at the start of a long quest to brainstorm and create solutions around how we can improve healthcare in the Philippines.

I’m also very happy to say we are running lean! A process that I have been trying to implement everywhere I am. In order to reflect and get feedback from all of you, I will be documenting the whole process and posting the progress here on my blog weekly. 

This first week will be filled with generative interviews, creating materials for divergent thinking and finding out if our product will brings value to customers.

We need your help! You could also be a part of this adventure, your experiences and feedback would just be awesome!

So… Have you ever had a problem with finding doctors? What’s your experience with finding a doctor? 

Join the conversation in the Comments

May 16th 2012 at 01:58 AM

Surf Camp!

Surf camp was only meant to be a short vacation, a break from the comfortable everyday of staring at my glowing screen for 12 hours – a lifestyle of being constantly plugged-in with multiple devices chirping for my attention.

Surf Dreamz Lanuza 2012 taught me more about being alive than just surfing.

Paddling in the water for hours. Fighting the current threatening to drag me to the open sea.  All in the hopes of catching the perfect wave. That one wave to get a taste of the undefinable high real surfers describe as stoked.

While on my board facing the colossal mountains covering the horizon, I couldn’t help but get a feeling of insignificance, of being a meagre blip in the bigger picture that is existence. When suddenly, a huge wave came crashing behind me like a jealous lover punishing me for not paying attention.

I wiped out, tumbled inside the tight grip of water, and fought the fear inside me screaming, “I’m going to drown!” Submerged, I closed my eyes allowing the fear to pass as I waited for the ocean to release me out of its powerful embrace.

A good four seconds when I finally surfaced, my lungs gasped for air as I desperately grabbed my board to stay afloat. I felt beaten, exhausted but most of all I gracious. I was alive.

My first huge wipe out.

Happy to say I came home with a passion for surfing and a new found respect for mother nature. Hopefully more people get to experience what it’s like in the next Surf Dreamz Lanuza. I will never look at the ocean the same way again.